Some of the key differences between magnetized (that is, pre-digital) videotape and celluloid film are the quantitative shifts in the following three categories:
1. Memory storage capacity.
Videotape, as a media storage device, holds more temporal information and affords un-interrupted recording.
Videotape is less expensive then celluloid film.
3. And mobility.
Video cameras are lighter than film cameras and videotape is more robust in more light conditions then celluloid film.
That is to say, automatic moving image reproductions are—with the onset of magnetized videotape in the 1960s anyway–no longer quite as precious.
Just shoot–shoot a lot; shoot at your house; shoot at the park; shoot down time, not just up time—just shoot.
Many artists began to explore video’s unique relationship to time.
Bruce Nauman, for example–in a particular series of videos from the late 1960s—pictures the artist not as one who represents an act of creation, but rather as one who (through the technology’s ability to depict greatly extended units of un-interrupted time) represents creating.
One views Nauman stomp on the ground of his bare artist studio in a rigorous rhythm for approximately 60 minutes.
Or one views him adjust a piece of wood, never quite getting it right, for the same amount of time.
These projects can be read as allegories about creation.
The artist never gets it quite right; every stomp or every movement of the wood is a failure.
What is more important is the evolving process of creation.
In the wake of videotape technology, though, a further series of media storage mutations have come and gone which result in the end of material storage devices such as videos or hard drives and the birth of the virtual data cloud—the immaterial field of code transformed into information signage—both private as well as public–hovering in, out, and around one’s physical locations in space.
Each one of these generational mutations, then, has necessitated subsequent mutations in the pictures artists draw of their own body performing actions through time.
Kari Altmann, for example, considers her work to be located not in individual works (as meaningful as they may be), but rather in her avatar inside the data cloud wherein one views her perform the excavation and molding of her own artistic archive in mutable cloud-space, cloud-time.
Sometimes she’ll just add an image for research or edit an older project; sometimes she’ll list, but not show new projects she’s working on; sometimes she’ll add a new video; sometimes she’ll take a video away; and so on and so on and so on and so on in a plethora of permutations one follows the artist play with her own cloud data:
Change, evolve—not to “better” data, just different data—data occurring in an ecological network of additional data networks which are—as a whole–growing and becoming self-reflexive, becoming visible to themselves (and its self).
The performative focus here, then, is not on the physical body repeating an action, but rather on the virtual body mutating its own archival network.